An official website of the United States government

Getting Started in Laos

Exporting to the Lao PDR

Embassy Vientiane is committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports to the Lao PDR. In this section, you’ll find a quick description of Lao PDR as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Getting Started

U.S. businesses interested in exporting to the Lao PDR can begin by consulting the following resources:

1.    Visit the website to get an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  You can find a copy of the Country Commercial Guide for Lao PDR there as well.

2.    You can also access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by specialists working in overseas posts.  The Library Includes:

  • Industry Overviews
  • Market Updates
  • Multilateral Development Bank Reports
  • Best Markets
  • Industry/Regional Reports

3.    Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to Laos.

4.   Contact your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), administered by the Small Business Administration.  SBDCs are government/academic partnerships that provide educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

5.   Contact the Lao Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce.

6.   Visit the Lao Trade Portal, a Lao government website with comprehensive information on Lao trade regulations.

Investing in the Lao PDR

Potential Investors: Getting Started 

If you are considering investment in Laos, here are some steps you may wish to consider as you get started:

  1. Visit the Department of Investment Promotion in the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment.
  2. Contact the Lao Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce .
  3. Subscribe to our embassy Facebook page.
  4. If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by registering with the Embassy at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

Current investors: Staying Connected

If you are a current U.S. investor in Laos, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in Lao PDR let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Add us to your mailing lists – we are always happy to stay informed.
  • Subscribe to our Embassy Facebook page.
  • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team.

Working in the Lao PDR

In this section you will find information on business visas, travel advisories, and anti-corruption tools.

Business Visas

For information on obtaining a visa to visit Laos, visit the site of the Lao Embassy in Washington DC or the Lao Department of Investment Promotion.

Travel Advisories

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory website for any updates regarding Laos.

Also, visit State Department information on travel to Laos.


The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.   More information on the FCPA can be found here.

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations. More information on the DOJ opinion procedure can be found here.